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June 2020 - Charnwood Stoves
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When it comes to choosing wood for burning, many people are searching for something that is best in terms of sustainability. Wood is a viable energy source that is virtually carbon neutral and also a cost-effective heat source for many homes. To help you find the best firewood for your needs, we’ve put together this handy chart to show you the different types of firewood available and the benefits they each offer.

Which firewood should I choose?

When choosing your firewood, we would recommend opting for a hardwood as they are generally denser than softwoods and will produce more heat and burn longer. However, softwoods do light quicker and can be cheaper, but they are more resinous than hardwoods, meaning they are more likely to build up tar deposits in your flue.

Common hardwood species include beech and oak.

Common softwood species include cedar and pine.

Kiln dried logs are a good option as these guarantee a low moisture content. ‘Ready to burn’ logs should have less than 20 per cent moisture levels for optimum heat output and efficiency, and with kiln dried logs you can be sure you’re purchasing a consistently dried log that will provide the best source of heat. Naturally seasoned logs are generally less expensive but be sure to test the moisture content before burning. They will need to have been seasoned for at least one year, preferably two.

Which wood burns the longest?

There are several firewoods that burn for a sufficient amount of time, but oak and hawthorn are both favourable hardwoods to choose. These both burn slowly and produce a good source of heat.

Although hardwoods are a more efficient fuel source in terms of heat output and burning time, they can be harder to ignite from cold. This is when softwood kindling comes in handy, as it can help you get your fire up and running, before using the hardwood to fuel and maintain the slow burning fire.

The following chart is a common list of UK firewoods, showing you if they are hardwood or softwood and providing some detail of their characteristics.

 

Firewood Name Hard or softwood Comments Grade
Alder Hardwood Generally considered a low quality firewood as it burns quickly and provides little heat. Poor

 

Firewood Name Hard or softwood Comments Grade
Apple Hardwood Needs to be seasoned. Has a nice smell and burns well with a without sparking/spitting. Good
Ash Hardwood Considered one of the best firewoods. It has a low water content and can be burned green. It is still best when seasoned and will burn at a steady rate. Great
Beech Hardwood Beech has a high water content so will only burn well when seasoned. Good
Birch Hardwood Birch burns easily but also fast, so is best mixed with slower burning wood such as Elm or Oak. A great fire lighter is birch bark. Good -Great
Cedar Softwood Cedar provides a pleasant smell and provides lasting heat but with little flame. You can also burn small pieces unseasoned. Okay
Cherry Hardwood Needs to be seasoned to burn well. Okay-Good
Elm Hardwood A good firewood but due to its high water content, it must be seasoned well. It may need assistance from another faster burning wood such as Birch to keep it burning effectively. Okay-Good
Hawthorn Hardwood A good firewood that burns well. Good-Great
Hazel Hardwood Excellent firewood when seasoned. Burns fast but with no spitting. Great
Holly Hardwood A good firewood that can be burnt green. Good
Hornbeam Hardwood A good firewood that burns well. Good
Horse Chestnut Hardwood Horse chestnut spits a lot and is considered a low quality firewood. Okay
Larch Softwood Needs to be seasoned well. Spits excessively while it burns and can produce a lot of soot. Poor
Lime Hardwood Considered a low quality firewood. Okay
Oak Hardwood One of the best firewoods when seasoned well.  It provides lasting heat and burns at a slow rate. Great
Pear Hardwood Needs to be well seasoned. Burns well with a pleasant smell and without spitting. Good
Pine Softwood Pine burns well but spits a lot and can leave behind soot. It can act as a good softwood kindling. Poor
Plane Hardwood A usable firewood. Good

 

Firewood Name Hard or softwood Comments Grade
Poplar Softwood Considered a poor firewood and produces black smoke. Poor
Rowan Hardwood Considered a good firewood that burns well. Good
Spruce Softwood Considered a low quality firewood. Okay
Sweet Chestnut Hardwood Burns when seasoned but spits excessively. Not for use on an open fire. Poor-Okay
Sycamore (Maples) Hardwood Considered a good firewood that burns well. Good
Walnut Hardwood Considered a low quality firewood. Okay
Willow Hardwood Willow has a high water content so only burns well when seasoned properly. Okay
Yew Hardwood Considered a usable firewood. Okay-Good
charnwoodstoves

Used in many homes, firewood is a sustainable and cost-effective way to heat your property or outdoor space.

Whether you’re looking for suitable wood to burn in your stove or use in your fire pit on chilly summer evenings, it’s important to choose the right type of firewood. Not all types of firewood burn in the same way, so it’s important to understand the differences if you want the best possible results.

Here’s our guide to everything that you need to know about firewood.

What’s the difference between hardwood and softwood?

Firewood falls into two main categories – softwood and hardwood.

The main difference between hardwood and softwood is their reproduction and physical structure. For example, hardwoods are a lot denser than softwoods, meaning that they produce more heat and burn for longer.

On the other hand, softwoods are less dense, meaning they ignite faster and produce more smoke, making them more suited to outdoor fires.

Why choose hardwood?

Perfect for creating indoor fires in log burners and woodburning stoves, there are lots of different types of hardwood, including oak, birch and ash. Hardwood is especially useful for those looking to fuel a stove or heat a house.

Let’s take a closer look at the most popular types of hardwood:

Ash

Ash is particularly good for wood burning, as its properties allow it to burn on its own and produce an intense heat output, with a steady flame.

Oak

Oak is one of the most common types of hardwood used in homes, due to the fact that it is capable of burning for long periods of time and can be used efficiently with a different types of logs.

Birch

Available in black, yellow and white, birch can burn for a long period of time and can also be used as a natural fire starter.

Why choose softwood?

If you’re looking for firewood for an outdoor fire, softwood is a much better option than hardwood – it ignites far more quickly, meaning its ideal for campfires and kindling.

Softwood also seasons more rapidly than hardwood. There are lots of different types of softwood to choose from, including pine, cedar and larch.

Here’s a closer look at their properties. 

Larch

Low maintenance larch is the hardest of the softwood family and requires intense heat to burn effectively.

Pine

Easy to light and burn, pine produces an impressive flame and is great to use as a fire starter. It’s important to note that pine should only ever be used in outdoor environments due to the fact that it burns incredibly fast.

Cedar

Finally, cedar produces a distinct crackling sound with a small flame. One of the main advantages of this type of softwood is that it can be burned unseasoned. It also gives off a lovely wood burning smell.

To find out more about the best type of firewood to use with your Charnwood wood burning stove, please get in touch, we’re always on hand to offer help and support.

charnwoodstoves

When it comes to choosing firewood for burning on your stove or creating an outdoor fire, there’s plenty to consider. The best results rely on opting for the best type of firewood for your needs.

So, to give you a helping hand, we’ve created a guide to everything you need to know about firewood.

First and foremost, there are two different types of firewood, falling under two distinct categories – hardwood and softwood.

What is hardwood?

Hardwoods are denser than soft woods, making them ideal for creating indoor fires. Popular hardwoods include oak, birch and ash. All are ideal for heating your home.

Hardwood is best suited for indoor environments as it produces more heat and burns for longer.

What is softwood?

Softwoods are less dense and ignite faster. This makes them far better for fuelling outdoor fires, as they can produce a little more smoke which can be unpleasant if they are burned indoors.

Again, there are lots of different types of softwood, including pine, cedar and larch. The best type of softwood for your fire will depend on your needs and how you plan to use it.

Seasoning your wood

Once you’ve chosen your firewood, you’ll need to ensure it is seasoned correctly before you attempt to light up your fire.

Seasoning involves ensuring that your wood is properly dried out in order to get the best out of your fire. Wood that contains moisture or is not fully dry won’t burn efficiently and will be slow to ignite. Suitable wood should have a moisture content of less than 20%.

There are a few ways to check whether or not your wood is correctly seasoned. For example, if your wood is light and has cracks on the ends, it’s highly likely that it has dried out. Another way to check is to examine the colour of your wood. Wood is usually yellow, grey or deep brown when it is dry. At Charnwood we do offer a pronged moisture metre that can be inserted in the log to give you an accurate moisture reading.

If buying wood in smaller volumes look out for the Woodsure ‘Ready to Burn label’ which guarantees a moisture content less than 20%.

Split up your logs

A fire will burn far more effectively if you split your logs into halves or quarters. This will help your wood to dry quicker too. As a general rule of thumb, you should try and cut your wood up into pieces that are between three to six inches. For larger outdoor fire pits or wood furnaces, they can be slightly larger.

Avoid storing firewood in your home

Finally, you should avoid storing large quantities of firewood in your home. Why? Firewood is notorious for being the home of choice for ants and other creepy crawlies, so it’s not a good idea to bring your logs into your home, unless you want them to bring their extra guests in with them!

Instead, create a dedicated storage area for your firewood outside such as a woodshed, a ventilated storage container or even a dedicated area protected by a natural bark barrier. Your wood should also be kept well ventilated season to season.

If you have any questions about firewood or any other aspect of using your wood burner or stove, please get in touch.

charnwoodstoves

As the heart of the home, the kitchen is the perfect place to pay attention to when it comes to your interior design. If you love to spend time whipping up a culinary storm and dining together as a family, it makes sense that you give the kitchen the touch of TLC it deserves when it comes to decorating. In the name of creative inspiration, we’re here to help. Today, we’re looking at 3 reasons you should consider bringing a fireplace into your kitchen design - offering tips and advice along the way so you’re left with a space the whole family simply loves spending time in.

1. It can be stunning focal feature

Unlike most other rooms in the home, the kitchen serves several practical purposes, and this means that the appliances often act as the focus points in this space. While you might have an attractive looking fridge or top-of-the-range washing machine, it’s unlikely that you want to draw attention to functional appliances when you’re considering interior decor.

By bringing in a fireplace, you can accessorise the borders and hearth with fireplace tiles to completely transform the look of your kitchen and make the fireside the focal point. A wood burning stove, acts as an eye-catching feature in its own right. However, you can always add the finishing touch by having a basket of wood and any pokers or accessories beside the stove.

2. It will provide warmth in winter

When the winter months set in, home cooked food is what most of us crave. But preparing to spend potentially hours in a frosty kitchen doesn’t hold much appeal, especially when you can be sitting snug and cosy with your throws by the fire in your living room – so how do you remedy that? Bring the fire into the kitchen, of course!

Heating your home using your kitchen fireplace can also be a way to keep energy costs low. Most modern stoves today are highly efficient and very clean burning. From wood pellets and firewood to mineral fuels, there are several options available to you when it comes to using your fire, so you can spend some time figuring out the best option for your home.

3. It will create an atmosphere

Last but not least on our list of reasons for adding a fireplace to your kitchen is the atmosphere that this can create. A fireplace can add character to a room that has perhaps previously been all about being functional. While it still provides a purpose, it can be an attractive centrepiece even when not in use.

If you’re lucky enough to have space for a dining table and chairs in your kitchen, a fireplace could be the perfect finishing touch. In the winter evenings, you can light it up and allow the warm glow of the fire to bathe the kitchen in an ambient light as you eat together as a family. In summer when the fire isn’t needed, use the hearth to display candles and freshly picked flowers.

By choosing to have a fireplace in your kitchen, you can create a truly unique focal point that is practical, yet gives off bags of aesthetic appeal.

Author bio:

Suhayl Laher works at Tiles Direct, one of the UK’s largest independent tile distributors and retailers – bringing design inspiration to homeowners, architects and developers.